The Dave Duerson Athletic Safety Fund, Inc. (DDASF) was founded by Dave Duerson’s brother, Michael Timothy Duerson. Created in May, 2012, this fund was initially set up to support the Muncie (Indiana) Community Schools, but is branching out to surrounding Indiana counties in 2015 & 2016. In addition, DDASF has started fund-raising activities in other states.
Dave Duerson Athletic Safety Fund, Inc. (DDASF) is a 501(c) 3 charity organization. There are no salaries paid to any individual in this organization – we are all volunteers.
This organization was founded by David Duerson’s older brother, Michael Timothy Duerson. David played in the NFL for 11 years, earning 2 Super Bowl Rings and was the recipient of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. Duerson was found dead at his Sunny Isles Beach, Florida home on February 17, 2011. The Miami-Dade County medical examiner reported that Duerson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. He sent a text message to his family saying he wanted his brain to be used for research at the Boston University School of Medicine, which is conducting research into Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) caused by playing pro football. He left behind three sons and a daughter . On May 2, 2011 researcher neurologists at Boston University confirmed that he suffered from a neurodegenerative disease linked to concussions. He was in the 4th and final stage of CTE.
Michael has a passion for youth and head injuries not only because of his brother, but he also suffers from a concussion. Michael was 18 years old when he received his concussion. He played Basketball for IUPUI and during a Christmas tournament received a concussion that left him with paralysis on his left side for 6 months. When he returned home from the Christmas tournament blood was streaming out of both of his ears. He was not treated when the hit occurred because the team traveled for 4 days to get home during the blizzard of 1977/1978. As he has aged, the Neurological and Psychological conditions have been increasing. In 2011, he was removed from the regular work force and ruled “Gravely Mentally Disabled”.
Dave Duerson Athletic Safety Fund, Inc. is a continuous program to educate all students (Grades K – 12) about concussion awareness and detection. Furthermore, we provide neurocognitive testing for all male and female student athletes in all sports (from Cheerleading to Football) in 7th through 12th grades. This fund is designed to be a sustainable funding mechanism for the school systems that we support.
This Fund supports both male and female athletes in all sports (from Cheerleading to Football). Activities include raising awareness of head injuries in student athletes, baseline testing (ImPACT) of the defined participating athletic groups, including post-injury testing and return-to-play evaluation when needed. This fund provides educational material to student athletes, parents, coaches, nurses, and school administration. This ImPACT Testing service is provided to student athletes in 5th through 12th grades. The baseline test is administered every 2 years for each student athlete (even if there has not been a head injury to that athlete). The ImPACT Test is not recommended for kids younger than the 5th grade due to the complexity of the computerized test and their cognitive reasoning.
ImPACT Testing (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is the first, most-widely used, and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. ImPACT was developed to provide useful information to assist qualified practitioners in making sound return to play decisions following concussions. ImPACT is the most widely used computer-based testing program in the world and is implemented effectively across high school, collegiate, and professional levels of sport participation. For more information about ImPACT Testing, you can visit their website at: http://www.impacttest.com/. The ImPACT Test is about a 20-minute test that is taken by the Student Athlete on a personal computer in a supervised (Athletic Trainer or Nurse) environment. There is a shorter version of the test (about 5 minutes) available on the ImPACT Applications, Inc. website at www.impacttestonline.com/impacttestdemo. This will provide you with an insight into what the test is like.
In addition, the Fund provides concussion awareness training for all students (athletes and non-athletes) in Kindergarten through 12th grades with the use of Concussion Goggles (http://fatalvision.com/concussion-goggle-kit.html) and educational material. This training is also provided to the teachers, nurses, coaches, principals, and other school administrators. There is a promotional video on the Fatal Vision website that gives more information about this product. This video can be viewed at http://fatalvision.com/simulation-goggles/concussion-goggle.html#productsinaction.
Accomplishments for DDASF
DDASF started implementing our two protocols (Concussion Goggles and ImPACT Testing) in schools in 2013. Since that time, we have accomplished the following:
- Concussion Goggles in 94 schools (Grades K – 12).
- ImPACT Testing in the schools that did not have any Concussion Testing in place (Grades 7 – 12) in Muncie Community Schools, Delaware County Schools, and Indianapolis Public Schools in Indiana.
- The total number of students impacted by our Concussion Awareness Initiative is 29,346 students in grades K – 12. In addition to the students, there have been numerous teachers, administrative staff, and Principals that have participated in the Concussion Goggle Simulation.
For the 2016/2017 school year, we have budgeted to provide our two (2) protocols to over 13,000 schools which will impact over 7.3 million students in grades K – 12. This project will cover 35 different states in the U.S.
On March 23, 2016, a Law was signed by the Governor of Indiana that Michael Duerson (Founder of DDASF) authored the foundation for. This law will take effect in July 2017. This was Senate Bill 234 and reads as follows:
Education of coaches of student athletes. Provides that, beginning July 1, 2017, the completion of a certified player safety education course: (1) is required for a head coach or assistant coach of an interscholastic sport; and (2) is optional for a head coach or assistant coach of an intramural sport. Provides that the course must be approved by the department of education, in consultation with a physician who has expertise in the area of concussions and brain injuries. Provides civil immunity for coaches of student athletes who: (1) comply with the training and other applicable player safety provisions regarding concussions and head injuries; and (2) provide coaching services in good faith; from damages as a result of a concussion or head injury incurred by a student athlete.
Mike has also authored the foundation for the Indiana Senate on three (3) other concussion-related proposed bills pertaining to (1) Return-to-Learn Protocol, (2) Return-to-Play Protocol, and (3) Mental Health being converted from a Civil Disobedience to a Medical Condition.
Dave Duerson Athletic Safety Fund, Inc. is partnered with the following organizations:
ImPACT Applications, Inc. – DDASF is partnering with ImPACT Applications, Inc. to provide ImPACT Testing to schools (Grades 7 – 12) throughout the United States. This partnership will start with the 2016/2017 School Year.
NFL Alumni and NFLPA Retired Players – We are charter members of both of these groups. We participate in various Fund Raising Events, and we are working with multiple NFL groups to implement the Dave Duerson Athletic Safety Fund, Inc. protocol in their respective cities.
CDC (Center for Disease Control) – The CDC is the source for all of our educational material regarding consussions. Their website is: http://www.cdc.gov/
Athletes Concussion Alliance (ACA) – This practice was formed by Dr. Todd Arnold and Dr. Patrick Kersey (former Indianapolis Colts Team Physician). Both of these physicians are currently consultants to the Dave Duerson Athletic Safety Fund, Inc. Board of Directors. ACA is providing the ImPACT Baseline testing for all Indiana student athletes that our Fund is sponsoring. In addition, these 2 doctors have volunteered to train any physician that would like to be certified in ImPACT Testing analysis. Dr. Arnold and Dr. Kersey are 2 of 8 doctors in the United States that are certified to train other physicians in regards to ImPACT Testing. More information about ACA can be found at their website at: http://acaindiana.com/
St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital – St. Vincent was our title sponsor in our first fund-raising event (David Crowder Concert at Anderson University). St. Vincent currently pays for all of the post-injury testing and analysis for student athletes in Anderson and the rest of Madison County (IN). In addition, St. Vincent’s also provides physician care for these athletes at no cost.
The Dave Duerson MCS Athletic Safety Fund was created in honor of Muncie native and former NFL Player Dave Duerson.
ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) testing was developed in the 1990’s and is a 20 minute test used by athletic trainers, school nurses, athletic directors, team doctors, and psychologists. It is the most widely used computerized concussion evaluation system.
This type of concussion assessment can help to objectively evaluate the concussed athlete’s post-injury condition and track recovery for safe return to play, thus preventing the cumulative effects of concussions.
We have been blessed to have a doctor from Indianapolis offer to provide the baseline ImPACT Testing for all student athletes in grades 5 through 12 enrolled in Muncie Community Schools. This will include all male and female athletes in all sports ranging from Cheerleading to Football. Dr. Todd Arnold, MD (from the Athletes Concussion Alliance) will be providing the baseline ImPACT tests free of charge for all of the student athletes. Both Dr. Arnold and his business partner, Dr. Kersey are 2 of 8 doctors in the United States that are certified to train other physicians on ImPACT Testing and how to interpret the results of the post-injury tests.
Dave played football, baseball, and basketball at both Storer Middle School and Northside High School in Muncie, IN. He was given an opportunity to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers as a pitcher and outfielder in 1979, but at the insistence of his father, he pursued his education at the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated in 1983 with a Gold Tassel. Dave was named as his team’s MVP and Captain. He was a 3rd round draft pick by the Chicago Bears in 1983 and was selected to four consecutive Pro Bowls from 1986 to 1989.
While proud of all of his accomplishments Dave truly shined after earning two Super Bowl rings. His first ring was earned with the 1985 Chicago Bears (Super Bowl XX) and a second with the 1990 New York Giants (Super Bowl XXV). Lastly, Dave found retirement from the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals after three years.
This fund was originated by Dave’s older brother Michael Timothy Duerson. Michael has a strong passion for this fund to succeed not only because of what happened to Dave, but also because Michael has hidden disabilities as a result of a concussion that he suffered while playing basketball at IUPUI in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1977 – which left him paralyzed on the left side for 6 months. Michael returned to play his 2nd year at IUPUI and suffered a career-ending injury. He has suffered from neurological and psychological issues which have become more pronounced as the years have passed. From the age of 30 to 53, Michael has been voluntarily hospitalized for these brain traumas 18 times. This is a huge driving factor for his passion for the new high-technology ImPACT Concussion Testing as a tool to assist the physician in the decision making process in regards to the athlete returning to play. He has received continued treatment for these diseases since age 18. Michael currently suffers from Accumulative Concussion Syndrome, in addition to the neurological problems. During these 23 years, Dave was Michael’s Medical Power of Attorney. In addition, Dave was also on the Board of Directors for the NFL Players Association for retired player’s disability.